Variable Bluet Coenagion pulchellum

Scientific Name: Coenagrion pulchellum (Coenagrionidae Coenagrion).

English Name: Variable Bluet; Variable Damselfly (Bluetail family Eurasian Bluets group).

French Name: L'Agrion gracieux (='the fierce graceful'); l'Agrion joli (='the pretty fierce').

5 Key Characters:
  • males have blue exclamation marks on 'shoulders'.
  • males have a black Y shape on the base of the abdomen (segments 1-2).
  • males are deep blue with a lot of black (abdominal segments 4-5 at least half black for example).
  • females greeny blue and black and very variable.
  • pronotum (segment between the head and thorax) has an M shaped rear edge.

Lookalikes: Azure Bluet C. puella, which is more abundant, not as dark, with 'shoulder' stripes unbroken and a U shaped mark at the base of the abdomen.

Habitat: Still, sunny, non-acidic, often eutrophic water such as oxbows, ponds, étangs, flooded ditches, permanent marshes and fens with well developed aquatic vegetation, often in forest clearings or bogs. They avoid polluted water or artificial ponds. Etangs which are farmed too intensively, especially for carp, are not used. They need marshy edges to the ponds and not too dense a growth of bushes on the banks.

Flight Period: May-June-July-August.

Status: Common in the Brenne, but generally scarce.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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